Health sector leads as Sunshine Coast jobs surge

A surging health sector led by last year’s opening of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital led job creation on the Sunshine Coast last year, keeping the region’s unemployment rate below Brisbane’s for the second year in a row.

On Trend data compiled by Conus economist Pete Faulkner shows unemployment on the Sunshine Coast is down to 5 per cent – the level now accepted as full employment, while the jobless figure for Greater Brisbane sits at 5.4 per cent.

However, young people continue to miss out in the Coast’s jobs market, with only about 300 of the 13,200 new positions created in 2017 going to workers aged between 15 and 24 and the region’s youth unemployment rate remaining stubbornly high at 13 per cent.

Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Complicating the figures further, more than half the new positions – about 7000 – were part-time, with the remaing 6200 full-time.

The health sector also accounted for more than half the new new positions, with its 6800 new positions dwarfing the Coast’s other employment leaders – the transport, postal, and warehousing sector, which added 2700 jobs, and construction, which added 2300 jobs.

The surge was also enough to counteract a decline in one of the Sunshine Coast’s biggest industries, retail, which shed 1500 jobs despite major developments such as the Sunshine Plaza expansion.

It means the Coast’s jobless rate is now sitting close to its lowest point since mid-2008 – the only time in at least the past 20 years it has slipped below 4 per cent.

And the jobs surge looks set to continue, with Mr Faulkner finding employment growth on the Sunshine Coast at 8.1 per cent, compared to 5 per cent for Brisbane and 4.6 per cent for Queensland overall.

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